Have you ever glanced at a word quickly and totally misread it? I’ve often wondered if the words we think we see come from some kind of anticipatory part of our brains, where we think we know what we are going to read before we read it. I’m sure someone has developed a theory on this phenomena, but I’m not familiar with it.
Take this morning, for example. My wife and I both use the Bible app YouVersion on our mobile devices. It’s an excellent app, offering several different translations of the Bible and a fairly extensive search feature, as well as a Verse of the Day each day. The verse appears upon opening the program, so I’ll sheepishly admit it’s easy to glance and it and not really think about what it says. Here is today’s verse:
Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah (Psalm 68:19, ESV)
Notice the word bears. Now, imagine if someone misread one of the letters in that word; specifically, the r. To make a needlessly long explanation short, I thought for a moment I saw the word beats. “Blessed be the Lord, who daily BEATS us up…”
Very slight difference there.
Of course, the first thing I did was laugh at my mistake. Because I over-think everything in life, though, I thought about the alternate wording again. “…The Lord, who beats us up…” Was this a simple case of not paying attention to what I was reading, or did I just tap into some subliminal content hidden in my mind?
In all seriousness, I went with the former over the latter. Even though I knew I had merely misread the word, however, there have been times when I felt exactly that way. Days when I believed God couldn’t possibly have any use for me anymore. Days when I openly questioned Him on why He made me the way I am. Days when I just knew that every problem I had was because I was such a lousy Christian.
Okay, so maybe He wasn’t doing all the beating … but I didn’t exactly feel as if He was being particularly kind to me either. What I came to realize, however, after coming to terms with my depression, going through some counseling, and renewing my mind, was that I had a problem of perspective. He wasn’t beating me; He was bearing me. All those times He pointed out my screw-ups, He wanted me to be better. All those times I couldn’t figure out why I was here, He wanted to me to dig deeper. And all those times I thought He was done with me, He was just getting started.
I don’t mean to say I don’t ever get sideways with God anymore. I can think of things in my life right now I’m sure He’s not happy with, and there are definitely days when that r looks an awful lot like a t. The truth, though, is in the Bible. I know; I checked the app.